By Shaee Flatt
The best season of the year is just one day away. That’s right, college football starts tomorrow. As pointless as they sometimes are, everyone loves to talk about pre-season polls. Whether you are an Alabama fan, a Utah fan, an Akron fan, or even a lowly Kentucky fan, everyone is 0-0. The question is, who are the best 0-0 teams?! Time for you to find out.
1. Georgia – Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The Tide have won two straight and three of the last four National Championships, but Georgia is just as good on paper, if not better. If there was ever a year that made 1981 feel like yesterday, well this is it for the Dawgs.
2. Alabama – Having the Tide at anything other than number one in this day and age is borderline insane. They have been completely dominant. However, it has to end sometime, and I think this year will be a slight hiccup. I think Georgia wins the SEC and the National Championship. It will be a dismal 11-2 or 12-1 season for the Tide.
3. Oregon – Yes, Chip Kelly is gone. No, Oregon is not. New Head Coach Mark Helfrich has the program looking like an exact replica of when Kelly was the head man. Oh, and their players are still faster than the roadrunner. They’ll be okay.
4. Clemson – I don’t know how I have an ACC team at number 4, but I do. The Clemson offense is the real deal, and the defense is loaded with talent, it just has to produce. If it can, Clemson is a dark horse for a National Championship berth. They’ve got Georgia in what should be a great game to start the season.
5. Ohio State – As you can probably tell, I’m not as high on the Buckeyes as some people. They might play for the National Championship, but if they do, they will get murdered. Just lose early and get it over with Urban.
6. Stanford – Stanford has a ton of talent, but a lot of new faces make them somewhat of an unknown. Kevin Hogan looks the part, and showed a lot of arm talent when he played last season. If he can get some help from the new running backs, Stanford will be in the top 10 once again.
7. LSU – I’m a little higher on LSU than most people are. They play a brutal, brutal schedule so they might not be ranked in the top 10, but to me, they are a top 10 team. Defense will be great as usual, and I expect QB Zach Mettenberger to play this season, the way he played the Alabama game last year. Great.
8. Florida – Like LSU, the Gators defense will be tremendous. How will their offense be, though? Jeff Driskel is nothing special, and they don’t have any proven playmakers around him. Despite that, their defense is too good to leave them out of the top 10.
9. South Carolina – If Clowney gives full effort on every play, South Carolina could be really dangerous. He won’t though, and they’ll win their 9 to 10 games. Which is like winning 11 to 13 games in any other conference.
10. Texas A&M – Johhny Football aside, the Aggies are a good football team. With him, they have a chance of beating anyone. Without him though, and they are a top 20-30 team. I think he plays the entire season, and Texas A&M falls just short of their goals. Like SC, they will win 9 or 10 games.
11. Texas – The Longhorns have been down, but that is all about to end. Lots of people talking about Oklahoma State in the Big 12, but at seasons end, I think Texas walks away with the conference championship.
12. Michigan – Michigan is Ohio State’s only real threat in the Big 10.
13. Oklahoma – While everyone disagrees, I still think Oklahoma State is playing third fiddle to the Big 12’s major powers. Sorry Cowboy.
14. Ole Miss – Possibly my second biggest shock, behind Alabama being number two is having Ole Miss in the top 15. The Rebels are for real though. They will win plenty of games this season, and don’t be surprised if the beat Alabama, A&M, or LSU.
15. Florida State – Based on pure talent alone, Florida State compares to any team in the nation, but there is always something missing. There is always that one below average team that makes you wonder why you ever thought the Noles had a chance. It will happen again. Duke this time?
16. Notre Dame – After playing for the National Championship last season, and clearly not belonging, its’ time to place Notre Dame back where they belong: The middle of the pack.
17. Louisville – Another team that I am not sold on. Sure, they beat Florida while they were sleep walking. Ho hum. Bridgewater is very talented, and their defense plays with great intensity, but Louisville doesn’t belong where most of the experts have them.
18. UCLA – The Bruins are a team on the rise, and could be a dark horse to contend for the PAC 12 title. I haven’t seen enough of them, so I’ll keep them here for now. Don’t be surprised if they sneak their way into my top 10 at some point, though.
19. Miami – The Canes have been down for a while. I don’t expect they will be for much longer. Their offense, led by QB Stephen Morris, and RB Duke Johnson should be electric. If they can get some good defensive play, Miami could surprise some people.
20. Michigan State – The Spartans have a chance to have the best defense in the Big 10. They did for the first half of last season. They didn’t lose a ton. Now they just need to find it.
21. Oklahoma State – To most people, Oklahoma State is the Big 12 favorite. To me, they are a team that could very well lose their opener to Mississippi State.
22. Northern Illinois – NIU is my choice for this seasons’ best non-BCS team, and that includes Boise State. Losing your head coach can always hurt, and they lost a good one in Dave Doeren to NC State, but I think they’ll be just fine. I wouldn’t be surprised to see NIU win 11 or 12 games.
23. Virginia Tech – Though they will likely be on life support after week 1, I still expect the Hokies to have a pretty good year. They aren’t what they used to be, but they still have plenty of talent all over the field.
24. Nebraska – Nebraska has a lot of hype that I don’t believe in right now, I like Taylor Martinez though, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and keep them in the top 25 for now.25. North Carolina – Another ACC team that might be on life support after week 1. However, they’ll be just fine in the lackluster ACC. They’ve got the weapons, and their defense can play very good at times. The Tarheels aren’t just a basketball school anymore.